Did Kirby Smart do more with less than any of the SEC football contenders last season?
A look at the most recent Sports Illustrated mock draft might suggest as much, with 14 SEC players projected among the first 32 picks, but none from Georgia.
Thorpe Award winner and Bulldogs All-American cornerback Deandre Baker had been universally projected as a first rounder in initial mock drafts.
But it could be a case of out of sight, out of mind for Baker, who skipped Georgia’s Sugar Bowl game with Texas and declined to play in the Senior Bowl.
Other players, such as South Carolina receiver Deebo Samuel, played in the All-Star Game in Mobile and shot up in the ranks.
Samuel is projected by Sports Illustrated to go No. 30 overall in the first round to the Green Bay Packers.
Smart took over as Georgia head football coach before the 2016 season, so the outgoing class of seniors were recruited by previous coach Mark Richt.
Outgoing Georgia junior Riley Ridley has been on the rise, projected as high as No. 32 overall by one NFLDraft.com writer.
Ridley, a member of Smart’s first recruiting class, didn’t make Sports Illustrated’s latest first-round cut, but he’s one to watch at the NFL Combine when receivers arrive and work out March 1-2.
Outside linebacker D’Andre Walker’s stock was on the rise before he suffered a sports hernia against Alabama, recently undergoing surgery to repair it.
2. San Francisco 49ers: Quinnen Williams, DT, Alabama
4. Oakland Raiders: Josh Allen, OLB/DE, Kentucky
5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Jonah Williams, OT/G, Alabama
8. Detroit Lions: Devin White, LB, LSU
10. Denver Broncos: Drew Lock, QB, Missouri
11. Cincinnati Bengals: Greedy Williams, CB, LSU
13. Miami Dolphins: Montez Sweat, DE, Mississippi State
14. Atlanta Falcons: Jeffrey Simmons, DT, Mississippi State
15. Washington Redskins: Jachai Polite, OLB, Florida
18. Minnesota Vikings: Greg Little, OT, Ole Miss
21. Seattle Seahawks: Deionte Thompson, S, Alabama
22. Baltimore Ravens: A.J. Brown, WR, Ole Miss
23. Houston Texans: Jawaan Taylor, OT, Florida
30. Green Bay Packers (from New Orleans): Deebo Samuel, WR, South Carolina
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